August 16, 2012 : TOWN & VILLAGE : BY SABINA MOLLOT
Democrat Brad Hoylman, who’s running for Tom Duane’s State Senate seat, is hoping to woo Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village residents by promising that if he’s elected, he’ll have a person on staff solely to deal with the community’s more pressing issues from MCIs to NYU’s influx. Additionally, on Monday, Hoylman announced his ST/PCV-specific agenda that calls for things like pressuring management to properly maintain the place and stop contracting with universities for “block rentals.”
“Part of what makes ST/PCV great is the diversity of its community, but we cannot allow it to be overrun by students,” he said in an official statement.
Hoylman also discussed his plans over bagels and schmear in the home of Council Member Dan Garodnick, with about a dozen people, including a few Tenants Association board members and the TA’s president, in attendance.
Garodnick has given his endorsement to the candidate, who is also Duane’s chosen successor. The openly gay attorney and chair of Community Board 2 is running against Upper West Side teacher Tanika Inlaw and Tom Greco, the straight owner of a gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen.
Hoylman, who lives in Greenwich Village, told residents he’d grown up in a small town in West Virginia, whose population was dwarfed by ST/PCV’s. In fact the complex is six times the size. To try and win over the big city crowd, Hoylman discussed his background fighting for tenants’ rights; he’s been a member of Tenants & Neighbors as well as Tenants Political Action Committee.
Like both his opponents, Hoylman said he is very concerned about the loss of affordable housing in the district and the diminishing of the city’s middle class.
He called ST/PCV “one of the most important stocks of affordable housing in the entire city. It’s a tremendous asset to Manhattan and something that we have to use every resource to protect.”
Hoylman also addressed tenants’ concerns abut college students, which he’d spoken about to T&V before, blasting the marketing to students and the conversion of apartments through pressurized walls as outrageous.
On other tenant-related issues, Hoylman discussed his desire to repeal the Urstadt Law, reform the MCI process and end an existing policy that allows landlords to evict tenants if the unit is intended for a family member of the owner. He also said he wanted to make sure a newly created Tenant Protection Unit of the state housing agency, Homes & Community Renewal, is funded.
“The governor has done a positive thing,” said Hoylman of the creation of the TPU. “The problem is he hasn’t put any resources into it.”
Of course, even if elected, Hoylman would be facing the same challenge as his predecessor in getting bills passed in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Hoylman said he would try to avoid getting blocked by the majority by building coalitions “with likeminded folks; they don’t have to be the same party” as well as some old fashioned “horse trading and politicking” and a bit of pressure on the governor.
Hoylman added that he does have some experience brokering deals at CB2, and gave the recent renovation of Washington Square Park as an example since some in the community were against the project.
“You would have thought I was dealing with the Israelis and the Palestinians,” he said. “It’s that kind of collaboration that is going to be required (in Albany). We can find similarities with our suburban colleagues.”
In another challenge for the candidate, earlier this summer, there had been a rumor floating around that Hoylman represented Tishman Speyer when the then-owner was trying to oust tenants through frivolous primary residence challenges
However, that is untrue he said. The only connection he had was when he worked as general counsel for the nonprofit organization Partnership for NYC, he recently told Town & Village. The Partnership, a New York City investment fund, is made up of local business leaders and Jerry Speyer is a board member. Tishman Speyer is also listed on its website as a partner company.
Hoylman left his work in a law a few months ago to pursue his political campaign. Initially he was running for the City Council seat currently occupied by Christine Quinn.
The Democratic primary scheduled for this year falls on Thursday, September 13. It was originally on Tuesday, but that changed because it would have fallen on September 11. So far, there is no Republican on the ballot for this particular Senate seat.
According to Hoylman, someone initially filed to run, but then withdrew.